Taste of Times Square is an annual food and music festival held, of course in Times Square, at the beginning of summer. Around 50 restaurants serving food from all over the world, put up stalls along two blocks of 46th Street between Broadway and 9th Avenue. Held by the Times Square Alliance, this year marks the 20th Taste of times Square event.
Times Square area is home to 300+ restaurants, 30 new ones opening just within the last year. The best part of it is that whatever kind of food you are looking for to fit whatever budget, you will find it here. If Restaurant Row, 46th St between 8th and 9th Avenues, is the place to go for restaurants run by celebrity chefs, along Broadway you will find food carts peddling their specialities for as little as five dollars! In short, you can have a satisfying meal in Times square regardless of your tastes or the heft of your wallet!
This year, 42 restaurants participated in the event. Tickets are sold ahead of the event and at a number of ticket booths at the event itself. Each ticket costs a dollar, and you pay anywhere from one to four tickets for each item. The name Taste of Times Square is meaningful in that one gets to taste a lot of stuff.
A wide variety of cuisines were represented among the stalls. And of course, some of them were more popular than others, evidenced by the long lines of prospective customers. There were lots of stuff to drink as well. However, alcoholic drinks are not sold at the event.
The stalls vie with each other in the stall decorations, even though the space is pretty much limited. From craved watermelons to skulls, the decorations were eye catching.
Restaurant stalls owned by chefs with name recognition, also display books, CDs, and other merchandise. As many of the stalls are right in front of their restaurants, you can go in and buy the merchandise if you are so inclined.
And bands and individual players entertained the crowds with different types of music. People stopped and listened, munching their food.
Most impressive was the Cross Roads drum circle, with participating drums from all over the world. Anyone interested could go and take a seat and pick up the drums. There were many young children who seemed rather skilled. It was hard to tell who were more enthusiastic… the drum master or the participants!
As the salt mines I work at is located right in the middle of Times Square, my friend and I made it a point to be present before the opening time of 5 pm. That gave us a chance to reconnoitre the stalls and decide on what we wanted to try before the crowds descended. And it was a wise decision too. The place was like an ocean of humanity in no time!
We tried jambalaya, empanadas, bread pudding, kobe sliders, layered chocolate cake (remembered from last year’s event), quesadillas, and flans. Believe me, there were a few more items I wanted to try, but this was all I could do. And though there were many salad options going – a roasted beet salad and a chick pea salad really looked interesting – but on this occasion I totally decided to look away from them.
By the time we had our fill and were leaving, the crowds were still arriving. We were talking how it rained and poured during last year’s event. This year, it was sunny and bright with the temp in mid-eighties. How is it going to be next year? Who knows… but Times Square, it’s a date!